When we purchased this property it was in a pretty shocking state, had been uninhabited for at least 5 years and had a lot of rough use prior to that. Last used as a chicken and goat farm, the house, outbuildings and land were all badly neglected. The main house roof leaked into every room except one so we lived in that room for 3 years.
First Summer’s job was to replace that roof, with a little help from family and a lot of effort on our part we could then start planning what we would do inside.
Due to the medieval history of the buildings we could not entertain the thought of over-modernising, taking it back to more how it would have been when constructed was our main aim with some modern features like electric lights and running water, obviously! But central heating with visible radiators and pipe work was out of the question and where ever possible water pipes and electrics have been hidden from sight.
We are obviously very interested to know as much of the history of this house as possible but it is a long, difficult task to trace these kinds of records and, as has been pointed out, a lot of archives were destroyed in the Revolution meaning there are large gaps in some history records. So far any information we have has come from neighbours and a small amount from the previous owners.
Estimates on the age have varied from 10th/11th Century to 13th but most people seem to agree it is probably not more recent than 13th.
We are reliably informed that the open terrace (Prèau in French) was used as a court room for a travelling judge who would visit and deal with miscreants, this being the reason there is a one man dungeon under the floor of what is now the shower and toilet block we installed in 2019 for campers. Our nearest neighbour informed us of this as he saw the dungeon before it was covered over and asked his Father, who lived here all his life, why it was there. Unfortunately the dungeon was under a very thick concrete slab so we could not uncover it realistically.
From the same neighbour came the fact that the house had tunnels leading to it from at least 2 local Chateaux so the owners could escape to safety here if things got too hot at their residence. We assume there must have been a wall where the garden is now located to surround the property – not very fortified otherwise.
We have located the entrance to the tunnel but could not follow it as the stairs must have been changed at some point, after it was no longer used, and blocked that part. We have been told the tunnels came from the Logis de La Jobtière near La Ronde and Chateau de La Mènardiére which is near to St Pierre Du Chemin. Another, elderly neighbour thought there was a third tunnel from La Foy which is much nearer than the others but we do not know which building it would have come from – we have not seen a very old property there, although it could have been destroyed or fallen into ruin.
Information received from the Maire’s wife was from the Grandmother of the current owner of La Jobtière, she recounted that our property used to have towers (no sign of them now though) and the huge Forest of Chantmerle used to belong to this house – it is several Kilometers away now but used to come much nearer until parts were cleared over the years. Shame it’s not still ours!
One of the previous owners mentioned that when he was a child and the property belonged to his Grandparents the main entrance to the courtyard had full height wooden gates. The huge top hinges for those are still present. We would love to reinstate this feature but at 3 Metres high it would cost a fortune in wood – maybe one day.
We have always wondered where the name of our hamlet came from - La Boucherie means the butcher in French, in 2019 a lovely old fella, who grew up in a nearby village, popped in for a chat and his theory was that the name could come from the fact that there had been a massacre or something similar giving cause to the name. No idea if there is any thruth in it but an interesting thought!